The fifth stand-alone volume of Cinebook’s Marquis of Anaon series, THE CHAMBER OF CHEOPS, delivers a fabulously satisfying final adventure, written with care, sensitivity and intelligence by Fabien Vehlmann and illustrated in a moodily cartoony style by Matthieu Bonhomme.

This time around, our young hero, Mr. Poulain, inherits a large amount of money from a man he never knew. He’s not the only one to be on the receiving end of this gift, but he is the only one who wants to understand his dead benefactor’s motives. In his search he travels to Ottoman Egypt (circa 1730’s) and comes face to face with mystery, adventure and the harsh realities of life in that day and age.

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The latest Hugo Pratt book, CORTO MALTESE IN SIBERIA, from IDW’s EuroComics is simply fabulous. Which comes as no surprise to anyone who reads this column. They all are. You should buy each volume, read them every couple of years, and stock extra copies to give away to friends and enemies and complete strangers. I’m not sure a longer review is necessary, but I’ll nevertheless jot down a few thoughts.

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THE WRONG HEAD is the latest stand-alone volume in the screwball adventures of Spirou and Fantasio, two globetrotting journalists for the Mosquito newspaper. Written and illustrated by Andre Franquin in 1954, this is another gorgeous and affordable episode in this delight-filled classic series.

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worldedenaHere we go. Dark Horse brings out the first volume of the eagerly anticipated MOEBIUS LIBRARY: THE WORLD OF EDENA. It’s a fantastic release, collecting the six-volume cycle Jean “Moebius” Giraud wrote, illustrated and published between 1983 and 2001, set in the Edena universe.

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EURO COMICS ROUNDUP >> Slate for Consumption

themetabaron1Continuing a long-running story in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s INCAL universe, THE METABARON — brand-new from Humanoids — is the first such volume with only a story credit to Jodo, while scripting duties have been given to Eisner nominee Jerry Frissen. Frissen, whose ZOMBIES THAT ATE THE WORLD gets a full recommendation from Euro Comics Roundup, is at his best a witty and clever writer, whose nomination to this job seemed at the very least an intriguing pick.

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The Best American Comics 2016

bestamericancomics2016For me, fall has not truly arrived until the annual edition of THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS arrives at my door. For everyone else, it takes pumpkin spice.

Perhaps I can convert more of you to my side? The 11th volume, THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s series. While I doubt series editor Bill Kartalopoulos and guest editor Roz Chast had that in mind in selecting this year’s contents, as if that were the sole impetus for making this collection Something Special; as Kartalopoulos has demonstrated since taking over the reins with the 2014 book, setting the high bar is merely a going-in given.

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EURO COMICS ROUNDUP >> Teaching Dylan Dog New Tricks

dylandogmorbiFor a few years now, Epicenter Comics has been publishing books from the legendary Italian Sergio Bonelli Editore for the American market. Following in the footsteps of Dark Horse (who published issues and collections of DYLAN DOG, NATHAN NEVER and TEX from the Bonelli stable), Epicenter has made a small dent with their two weird Western books MAGIC WIND and ZAGOR. More about both in future Euro Comics Roundups. What caught my attention was their plans to start releasing new DYLAN DOG material. The first volume just landed in my eager hands.

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THE ADVENTURES OF DIETER LUMPEN by writer Jorge Zentner and artist Ruben Pellejero is a phenomenal release from IDW’s EuroComics lineup. Gathering under one cover the complete series featuring Lumpen, a reluctant leading man, this globe-trotting book set in the 1940s rolls out with several short pieces that set the tone before hitting a rapidly ascending trajectory with three longer works that fill out this gloriously printed oversized volume, stunningly drawn and beautifully written for the entirety of its 260 pages.

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EURO COMICS ROUNDUP >> Ghosts of a Chance

ghostsinverlochSince Luc Besson just got a rousing reception for the few minutes of VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS footage he showed at this past week’s San Diego ComicCon, it’s only appropriate to continue reviewing the original series of comic books that not only inspired and instructed the career and ambitions of Besson, but through an extensive visual influence on George Lucas’ original STAR WARS trilogy, the majority of modern science fiction cinema as well.

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strangerFrom Pegasus Books comes a new adaptation of Albert Camus’ THE STRANGER, which I was eager to get my hands on. Existential dread, murder and the absurdity of life? In the right hands — like Munoz and Sampayo — this could be spectacular.

Having now read Jacques Ferrandez’ adaptation, THE STRANGER, I can say that if you ignore the fact that it is an adaptation, you have a beautifully illustrated, fascinating and fairly unusual graphic novel that I would recommend to readers of literary comics. However, as an adaptation of Camus’ book, it comes off as an abridged and diluted illustration of the plot mechanics, excluding meaning, interpretation and insight of the original.

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